Pioneer Day (or Days of ’47) lands on July 24 each year and marks the day in 1847 when Brigham Young and the first group of Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley. It's an extra summer holiday for residents of Utah, celebrated in much the same way as Independence Day, but with a religious bent.
Picnics, parades, rodeos, concerts, and fireworks are held throughout greater Salt Lake City and in surrounding communities in July. And while outlying areas may celebrate the event with a simple church or family picnic, the city itself goes all out to commemorate Young and the pioneers of the American West. Many of these events have been altered or canceled in 2020. Check details below and websites of the organizers for more information.
This event has been canceled in 2020. Since 1997, the Days of '47 KUTV Pops Concert has kicked off Salt Lake City's Pioneer Day activities. Featuring the Choral Arts Society of Utah, the West Valley Symphony of Utah, and various guest artists, the ensemble entertains crowds with patriotic favorites and Broadway hits. The two-day event (typically scheduled for a Friday and Saturday) is free, though tickets are required, and takes place at Abravanel Hall.
This event has been canceled in 2020. The Days of ’47 Float Preview Party is like a backstage pass to Salt Lake's famous Days of ’47 Parade. It takes place on several weekdays leading up to Pioneer Day. Here, you'll get up close and personal with enormous parade floats and see what it takes for the production to come together. There are activities for children, like face painting and balloon artists, and a competition in which people vote for their favorite floats. The winner will receive an award come parade day.
This event has been canceled in 2020. The parade itself is held on Pioneer Day in downtown Salt Lake. Some even camp out the night before to assure they get a good view of the floats, horses, bands, and clowns that parade down the street in a festive procession. Many local businesses remain open during the festivities, so pop into your favorite restaurant after the event (reservations are often needed) or enjoy food from numerous roadside vendors.
This event has been canceled in 2020. Traditionally Utah’s largest rodeo, the Days of '47 Rodeo draws world-champion cowboys, cowgirls, and some of the roughest stock. The Utah State Fairpark traditionally opens at 4 p.m. every day throughout the week for activities, including mechanical bull rides, a petting zoo, a carnival, pony rides, live music, and cultural exhibits. The rodeo starts each night at 7:30 p.m.
This event has been canceled in 2020. Held in conjunction with other Pioneer Day celebrations, this Temple Square concert commemorates the arrival of the first Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley. Each year, several guest artists, including actors, singers, and dancers (recently Alex Boyé, Katherine Jenkins, and the King’s Singers) come together at the LDS Conference Center for a remarkable display of talent. Tickets are free but required and standby seating is available on a first-come-first-serve basis. The standby line forms at the north gate at 6:30 p.m.
This event has been canceled in 2020. A family-oriented hike that retraces the route of the 1847 pioneers, this five-mile trek follows Emigration Creek through the neighborhoods of Salt Lake City to the area's first pioneer campsite. It's free to join, but advance registration is suggested. Hikers meet at Donner Park at 7 a.m. and enjoy an authentic pioneer breakfast at First Encampment Park after the hike.
This event has been canceled in 2020. The Deseret News Marathon is one of the fourth oldest marathons west of the Continental Divide and is a sanctioned qualifier for the Boston Marathon. A great downhill run, the marathon's course drops a total elevation of 3,200 feet and ends in downtown Salt Lake City along the parade route, which happens to be on the same day. You can also register for the half marathon, the 10K, or the 5K.
This event has been canceled in 2020. All religious denominations are invited to the Assembly Hall on Temple Square for a 7 a.m. sunrise service on July 24. This community gathering features a choir comprised of singers from throughout the valley and an inspirational talk. Admission is free and tickets are not required. Afterward, worshippers can find their vantage points along the parade route.
Pioneer Days at This Is the Place Heritage Park begins with a flag-raising ceremony and ends with the bang of a candy cannon. At this festival, guests can partake in some of the same activities that brought joy to weary pioneers, such as panning for gold, pony and train rides, music, and crafts. It's a paid-entry festival—tickets cost about $14 for adults and $10 for children—that features Native American dancing, a bird show, and games.
Though the event has been canceled in 2020, this Native American celebration traditionally coincides with Pioneer Day activities. At this intertribal pow-wow, you can enjoy traditional music and drumming, dancing, crafts, food, and celebrity appearances. The regalia is stunning and the fireworks display at 10 p.m. caps off the night at Liberty Park. The event costs $5 per person, but seniors over 65 years old and children under 3 get in free.
Down in St. George, Merrill Osmond hosts a youth pioneer production and fireworks celebration called The Pioneer Legacy. More than 100 child performers depict the journey of Utah's pioneers through music, dance, and theater at this annual event. Admission is free, but donations for the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund are welcome. Bring blankets and water with you to the Dixie State University Trailblazer Stadium (chairs, coolers, and outside food are not allowed).